WARNING…words of brutal honesty will follow this disclaimer.
If you’re one of those people that refuses to confront the difficulties of choosing a life of faith in Jesus, this article probably isn’t for you.
If you’re someone who believes that choosing the life of a Christian is all John 10:10 abundance, without confusion and hard pressing strikes mentioned in 2 Corinthians chapter 4…brace yourself, please, because the truth is…challenges are coming.
That isn’t the purpose that underlies the words that I’ve been given to write this.
The challenges themselves are not the subject here.
How we respond to them when we feel like we’re in the bullseye of God’s will for our lives is the key.
What happens to our faith when we get hit in the one area that would shake us the most when we’ve been serving selflessly in our church, reading our Bible every day, worshipping God in and out of the church and carrying our cross well?
If you’re like me and have seen your faith weaken — and the awareness of the ways and degree to which you sacrifice for others, causes you to start lashing out at God for all the things you’re “entitled to,” this article is for you, for us…
Those of us that can identify with the previous sentiment have a problem that seems to be a popular trend in modern day Christianity: TRANSACTIONAL FAITH.
By definition a transaction is an exchange, or a “business deal,” and living lives of faith in Jesus from this perspective is ALWAYS going to be problematic. It’s not problematic because we SHOULDN’T believe in the promises presented in the bible, but rather because it causes us to begin focusing on the promise over the promise keeper.
Transactional faith is so tricky because, while it seemingly increases our effectiveness as disciples, it creates a rift in our perspective which leads to bitterness and resentment which usually result in disobedience. To provide you with an example, I’ll give you something I’m attempting to work through currently.
I was a student at Hillsong College in Australia for 3 years…sounds amazing, right?
Well, it was…until I was forced to come back to America before I thought my time was done.
School hasn’t always been a source of satisfaction, but what I was doing out there, seemed to keep me satisfied. I was a youth leader at a campus with an undeniable family vibe. I had developed lifelong friendships with the people I served with and a core group of people I attended college with as well. All I wanted was to be able to continue; MY goal was to stay there until I completed the units necessary for a bachelor’s degree. The only thing that stood in my way was money…
But surely the Lord would provide, right?!
Philippians 4:19 says “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory”, so surely the funds to continue getting educated to accomplish what I still feel I’ve been called by GOD to will come, right?!
We’re taught to dream big, be expectant, and have FAITH, right?!
The only thing Jesus was ever truly impressed by was the FAITH of a centurion (Matthew 8, Luke 7), and he said in Mark 11 that FAITH can move mountains and that whatever we ask for in prayer will come to pass should we choose to believe it…
AND in Galatians 6, Paul writes that we will reap what we sow. Surely I could apply these promises to my life.
As I sit here unemployed and confused as to why I’m not still in Sydney studying, and as you attempt to process your own disappointing experiences, we are often left with the question, “Why did this happen?” When our life doesn’t go as planned we tend to become angry with God.
It’s simple…TRANSACTIONAL FAITH. Somewhere along the line, Jesus stopped being enough for us. Jesus was enough when we saw provision. Jesus was enough when we things were going the way we envisioned them. Jesus was even enough when our quality of life decreased but geographically we were where our hearts desired us to be.
When external situations take a turn for “the worse” we can find ourselves in positions we never thought we’d see, and transactional faith saying, “Jesus you’re great, but without what I feel I deserve in MY life, you’re not enough.”
Dear sister and brother, we don’t get to tell God what we think we deserve. We must examine our hearts and consider why we could feel that Jesus Christ, who submitted to the humiliation that we deserved could simply not be enough for us.
It’s hurtful to address this because it reveals the corruption of our humanity but amazing grace how sweet the sound of brokenness being made whole, pollution turning to purity, and death traded for life. As I conclude, allow me to be clear…
Belief in the promises of the bible IS NOT flawed…God’s promises should be believed. And to be honest, if for some reason God doesn’t do another thing for us, He is still good.
We must be careful to realign our hearts with loving God just for who He is and not what He can do.
Doesn’t God know best? Yes, he does! If we struggle to believe this truth, we need only recap his faithfulness in our lives and then we will see the harvest.
Brandon is an early 30s Atlanta native with a background in theatre, and was raised in a Christian home as the youngest of six children. He’s a Hillsong College graduate, with an ultimate goal of achieving a PhD in biblical studies and becoming a teacher —and one day, the EVP of a thriving Bible college. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram @bwoodruff320